The Culture of Print, Part 1


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The Culture of Print, Part 1

  1. 1. The Culture of Print, Part 1 Presentation by Mindy McAdams Week 7.1 / MMC 2265
  2. 2. Lewis Mumford, 1895 – 1990 <ul><li>Studied at the City College of New York and the New School for Social Research (never finished his degree) </li></ul><ul><li>Magazine work: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1920s: Associate editor of The Dial, an influential literary journal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wrote architectural criticism, as well as commentary on urban issues, at The New Yorker for more than 30 years </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Lewis Mumford, 1895 – 1990 <ul><li>&quot;He preferred to call himself a writer, not a scholar, architectural critic, historian or philosopher&quot; (Eugene Halton, biographer) </li></ul><ul><li>Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1964) and the National Medal of the Arts (1986) </li></ul><ul><li>Famous books include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technics and Civilization (1934) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The City in History (1961) – won the National Book Award </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Early Books in Europe <ul><li>Monks copying books: About 500 C.E. through 1500 C.E. </li></ul><ul><li>Starting about the 1100s, universities paid scribes (who were not monks) to copy books; stationer shops prospered </li></ul><ul><li>Gutenberg finished printing his Bible (on a press) in 1455/56 C.E. </li></ul><ul><li>Estimated 8 million books printed by 1500 </li></ul>
  5. 5. A Gutenberg Bible
  6. 6. Movable Type <ul><li>The Chinese used a system of “movable characters” about 1045 C.E. — 400 years before Gutenberg </li></ul><ul><li>Chinese used woodblocks and, later, blocks of fired clay to print Chinese characters onto cloth and, later, paper </li></ul>
  7. 7. Movable Type <ul><li>Chinese invented paper about 100 C.E. (or maybe earlier) </li></ul><ul><li>Complexity of Chinese writing system limited printing production to shorter texts </li></ul>
  8. 8. Movable Type <ul><li>Did Gutenberg know about Chinese movable type? </li></ul><ul><li>The Travels of Marco Polo, “published” in 1299 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Described China, the Mongol empire, India and Africa </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marco Polo, an Italian, had spent 24 years in the East </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One of the most popular books in medieval Europe — hundreds of copies </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Hand-lettered, illustrated text of The Travels of Marco Polo, c. 1300
  10. 10. Gutenberg <ul><li>Johann Gutenberg, born about 1400 C.E. in Mainz, Germany </li></ul><ul><li>His family was upper-class, so he was most likely educated in Latin </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence shows he was a goldsmith and worked also with other metals </li></ul><ul><li>He started experiments with metal type and a letterpress in the 1440s </li></ul>
  11. 11. Role of Paper <ul><li>How to manufacture paper: Arabs first brought that knowledge to Spain in the late 1100s </li></ul><ul><li>First paper mill in Germany was founded in 1390 — barely 50 years before Gutenberg’s movable type </li></ul><ul><li>Before paper was available, European books were copied onto parchment (sheepskin) or vellum (calfskin) </li></ul><ul><li>Gutenberg used paper imported from Italy </li></ul>
  12. 12. Gutenberg’s Bibles <ul><li>Each copy: Almost 1,300 pages </li></ul><ul><li>Size: About 16 inches by 12 inches </li></ul><ul><li>Most Gutenberg Bibles were bound in two volumes (they are big ) </li></ul><ul><li>Typical binding: Leather over wooden boards </li></ul><ul><li>The U.S. Library of Congress’ Gutenberg Bible is one of three perfect examples printed on vellum that have survived </li></ul><ul><li>48 relatively complete copies of the Gutenberg Bible survived into the 20th century </li></ul>Source:
  13. 13. Gutenberg’s Invention <ul><li>Developed a process to cast the individual letters with metal alloy and precisely adjust the mold to guarantee uniformity (size and shape) of the metal type </li></ul><ul><li>Divided text into the smallest components: The 26 letters of the Latin alphabet </li></ul>
  14. 14. Metal Type
  15. 15. Type Case (or Job Case)
  16. 16. Gutenberg’s Process <ul><li>Used screw presses to press the ink-covered metal type against the paper </li></ul><ul><li>Press was made of wood until about 1800 </li></ul><ul><li>After 1800, the hand-operated press was made of iron </li></ul>
  17. 17. Spread of Printing Technology <ul><li>The result: A large number of exact copies of a single book could be produced in a short amount of time </li></ul><ul><li>Printing process spread rapidly through Europe </li></ul><ul><li>1470s: First printed book in English </li></ul>
  18. 18. Mass Production (1) <ul><li>Eli Whitney, born in 1765, Massachusetts </li></ul><ul><li>Patented the cotton gin in 1794 </li></ul><ul><li>Many historians mark this as the start of mass production in the world </li></ul><ul><li>However … Gutenberg’s press made possible the mass production of hundreds (even thousands) of identical books </li></ul>
  19. 19. Mass Production (2) <ul><li>One edition of a book in the early years of printing: 200 to 1,000 copies </li></ul><ul><li>Any copy might be transported far from the place where it was first printed </li></ul><ul><li>Another printer might set up a new edition of that same book and print many more copies </li></ul><ul><li>Competition among printers: Led to copyright laws (1662, England) </li></ul>
  20. 20. Timeline <ul><li>1452 – Leonardo da Vinci born </li></ul><ul><li>1453 – Constantinople falls to Muslim conquerors; Greek scholars flee to Italy </li></ul><ul><li>1456 – Gutenberg’s first printed Bibles </li></ul><ul><li>1474 – Michelangelo born </li></ul><ul><li>1492 – Columbus lands on American shore </li></ul><ul><li>1498 – Vasco da Gama sails around the Cape of Good Hope; reaches India </li></ul><ul><li>1517 – The Protestant Reformation begins </li></ul>
  21. 21. The Culture of Print , Part 1 Presentation by Mindy McAdams University of Florida